Winter Olympics 2018: "Celebrating with the fans was a special moment for me," says Shiva Keshavan
Veteran Indian luger Shiva Keshavan brought an end to a 20-year career at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics earlier on Sunday. In his last race, he finished at 34th, not the result he was hoping for but still an extremely commendable effort given that he was carrying a hairline fracture in his right hand.
A couple of days after his last race, the 36-year-old relayed the experience of his final Olympic event to Sportskeeda over a casual telephonic chat.
"It has been a very good experience in PyeongChang. Right from the training runs to the final runs, I enjoyed it thoroughly. I am satisfied with my overall performance," he said.
However, it was not like he didn't have any regrets. Keshavan rued his poor start in the first run that hindered his chances of qualifying for the fourth run. He had hoped that he would be able to take part in all the four runs.
"Of course, those two seconds I lost in my first run, right at the start...I hoped I would be able to take part in all the four runs. Unfortunately, they have this new rule where only the top 20 get to be a part of the final run. It would have been nice to do the fourth run, and who knows, maybe, I could have improved my overall ranking," he said.
On being asked about his injured hand, the six-time Olympian admitted that he was not feeling at his best as he said, "I wasn't at a 100 percent and that obviously reflected in my first run. As you know, I was carrying an injury on my right hand and that's why I couldn't get the start I was hoping for."
Keshavan further conceded that although he had gone to PyeongChang to enjoy his last Olympics and to absorb the atmosphere for one last time, he had set a personal target of finishing in the top 25. He reckoned the poor start cost him dearly.
"My aim was to finish in the top 25 and if I didn't lose those two seconds at the start, maybe, I could have achieved it. But then again, unless you are a medal winner, overall rankings do not matter so much," he sighed.
This was probably the first time that 50-odd people were waiting at the finish line, cheering "Shiva, Shiva" at the top of the voices. And right after his second run, in which he clocked a personal best, we saw an emotional Keshavan run across to his fans, climb over the railings and celebrate with them.
"At the start point of the first run, of course, I couldn't see them. But as I was sliding down the track, I could see some of them, and I could hear them cheering for me and that really egged me on.
"My second run was a great run. Although I couldn't get a strong start because of my hand, I managed to hit my personal best and all these people, they were standing over there in minus 25-minus 27 degrees for almost four hours. They were yelling my name throughout. I was the last starter anyway, so I thought why not spend some time with them? Many of these people, I haven't ever seen in my life... it was a special moment for me," Keshavan said.
Inquired about his plans for the coming days, the Manali-born athlete replied, "I'm still here in PyeongChang for a few more days, I'm here to support Jagdish. We are a small team, and we've got to stick together."
Before heading off to South Korea, Keshavan had said that he was looking to get into sports administration and now he wants to get to work as soon as possible.
"If my offer is accepted, I would like to get to work as soon as possible because the Youth Olympics is very near. Also, the next Olympic games are in two years so I think it's the right time to start off," he said.